Business Security

Are Staff Members Stealing From You?

Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures

If expenditure on office supplies and other sundries takes a sudden rise, you may have someone who is adopting a permanent borrowing scheme -- meaning they 'borrow' from you, without ever giving back.

It's never nice if you suspect staff of stealing from you company. If Sherlock Holmes were running your business he'd definitely be looking at the following areas which are open to sly dealings:

  • Check to see if staff members are using their company mobile phone for business calls only. You really don't need to be Sherlock to figure this out. Call logging will give you all the answers you need.
  • Fuel expenses. Many employees are tempted to add personal travel costs onto their business expenses. If a staff members fuel claims seem a wrong fit, check them out.
  • Hospitality accounts. These should be used for entertaining clients only. So, be suspicious if billing for an afternoon on a bouncy castle followed by a trip to cinema to see the latest Disney movie comes up in your claims list. Hello? Looks like Jake in the tech department is entertaining his family at your expense.

A watchful eye and the application of logic will help to reveal problem areas in your company and amongst the staff. The next problem is dealing with those issues effectively.

The Game is Afoot! Catching the Culprit Red Handed

Of course if the culprit can be caught red-handed then you can deal with them accordingly. If the costs relating to petty theft inside your company are considerable then you may need higher security. The trouble with this is that it can make other honest members of staff feel uncomfortable. Don't make the mistake of causing suffering or inconvenience to valued team members on account of one or two sneaky operators. Strike a balance.

Here are other areas that you might want to look at under a magnifying glass:

  • The Hound of the Technicals:
  • Are staff in the technical department using your time and resources to fix personal items like their own PCs or iPhones? If you allow this, then fine, but if it's happening a lot it could be to the detriment of the department and ultimately your company.
  • The Mystery of the Missing Sundries:
  • How much coffee does your team drink? If the supplies get low quick yet no-ones buzzing ask yourself where the coffee's going. The contract cleaner who always carries a huge bag might know something.
  • The Frankly Cheeky Case of the Mail Swindler:
  • Christmas is a time of good cheer. It's also the time when employees may be tempted to use your franking facility to pay their personal Christmas card postage. Of course they may well be doing it all year round. This can cost your company a pretty penny. Don't worry about looking like Ebenezer Scrooge if you put a stop to the cheeky frankers at Christmas. Stealing is the crime here. And you have been the victim.

When you apply good old logic to situations that had you scratching your head you can get to the bottom of many a small mystery. Do you need the deductive gifts of Sherlock Holmes? In all honesty no, Nancy Drew could probably have worked it out. It's all a question of thinking in a rational way. That's not to say you're a chump for not realizing you were being had over. That's merely testament to the fact that you are a trusting person who didn't expect to be scammed.

Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."

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